First, I think there is value for you to read this blog even if you are not attending Synergy Barcelona 🙂 – that is off course if you are interested in our joint solutions. In this blog and in the session, I would like to highlight & discuss on a few key topics related to our joint solutions with Cisco in the datacentre space. This is to hopefully assist you to either leverage more from your existing deployments or look at the joint architectures on how it can answer the following questions for you:

  1. Why are Cisco datacentre solutions valuable for hosting XenDesktop?
  2. What additional features can you leverage to solve specific business use cases in your XenDesktop based virtual environments?
  3. How should you best implement them together following joint technical best practices?

Let’s look at top 3 items for each of the above. And let’s have a discussion in the comments section if you would like to add to the list by sharing your specific experiences.

Why is the platform ideal?

1. Scalability & Performance:

When considering an ideal platform for hosting XenDesktop workloads, it is probably the most important technical consideration to keep in mind: Things like Higher VM density/core, achieving linear scalability of all components and keeping end user performance as excellent while scaling large as during a small PoC. And Cisco UCS has proven to be able to do just that. A lot of our joint literature covers details around this.

(Note: I know we have a lot of partners and customers replicating Cisco Validated Design Guides (CVDs) and Reference Architectures (RAs) in their environments and might have in-depth technical questions. If you do please comment it out. My testing skills are probably rusty now after the initial work on this in 2010, but we have access to our current architects to get specific technical details for you on any of the joint CVD/RAs).

2. Rapid Provisioning: This is to do with the concept of service profiles and stateless computing that UCS brings to the table. With the ability to rapidly provision underlying infrastructure, you add that dynamicity to your XenDesktop deployment. For example, we recently configured UCS service profiles in less than a minute with all the XenDesktop best practices in place. This can easily boot multiple servers immediately after the initial one time setup of the service profiles is completed. Stay tuned. I will provide a link to the script in a few days to this blog for you to test it out. (Please note that I say test it out and not roll it out in production right away J)

3. Networking Visibility & Security: As a Citrix architect, I know that gaining true benefits out of advanced networking features and providing security for virtual desktops and applications is often given less consideration – sometimes rightfully to avoid complexities as per existing design practices but a lot of times due to lack of thorough integrations. Cisco solutions such as Cisco Virtual Interface Card (VIC), VM-FEX (on ESX and now Server 2012), Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) provides these advanced use cases that to be deployed with hosted virtual or hosted shared desktops. And based on existing deployment experiences, it covers a wide variety of use cases for customers. We will shed some details over this in our session.

In addition, we will cover the following topics to answer What specific features can be of interest for your joint deployments:

  1. Provide Unified Management
  2. Application & DC-DC Mobility
  3. Network QoS

And lastly, we will discuss How to go about joint deployments by following best practices:

  1. Cisco UCS Networking Design Practices for XenDesktop: I recently worked with Chris Carter from Cisco (VXI Consulting Systems Engineer) and jointly developed a best practices whitepaper on setting up UCS service profiles for XenDesktop. Please stay tuned as I will update this blog with link to the whitepaper.
  2. Leveraging best practices from existing Reference Architectures: Not to reinvent anything here, we do have RAs and CVDs that cover tons of best practices while deploying the joint stack. Such as the XD on FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud CVD and the VXI 2.6 CVD among others.  If you need additional references on specific topics, please let me know in the comments and I can provide that for you.
  3. Nexus 1000v Best Practices: In the session we will discuss some technical considerations if you are leveraging 1000v deployments with XenDesktop.

I will be jointly presenting with our guest speaker, Ashok Rajagopalan Senior Product Manager, Server Access Virtualization Technology Group at Cisco, on all of the above at both SUM204 and SYN132 sessions in Barcelona. And after the session, I plan to update this blog for everyone with references to several topics that we will discuss there.

Thanks for reading and look forward to your comments.